Corn BuntingThe Corn Bunting, Miliaria calandra, is a passerine bird in the bunting family Emberizidae, a group now separated by most modern authors from the finches, Fringillidae. It is the sole member of the genus Miliaria, although a few authorities place it in the large genus Emberiza.
The Tree Sparrow
It breeds across southern and central Europe, north Africa and Asia across to Mongolia. It is mainly resident, but some birds from colder regions of central Europe and Asia migrate southwards in winter.
The Corn Bunting is a bird of open country with trees, such as farmland and weedy wasteland. It has declined greatly in northwest Europe due to intensive agricultural practices depriving it of its food supply of weed seeds and insects, the latter especially when feeding young.
This is an unusual bunting because the sexes appear similar in plumage, although the males are approximately 20% larger than females. This large bulky bunting is 16-19cm long, has male and female plumages similar, and lacks the showy male colours, especially on the head, common in the genus Emberiza. Both sexes look something like larks, with streaked grey-brown above, and whitish underparts.
The Tree Sparrow Passer montanus is 12.5–14 cm long. The adult's crown and nape are rich chestnut, and on the white cheeks and ear-coverts there is a triangular black patch; the chin and throat are black. Two distinct though narrow white bars cross the brown wings. In summer the bill is lead-blue, and in winter almost black. The legs are pale brown and the irides hazel. The sexes are practically alike.
The young, even in the nest, closely resemble their parents. They are said to be duller, and the face pattern is less distinct. The breast and belly are browner than in the adult.
The Tree Sparrow's voice is more shrill than the House Sparrow's; the call is a shorter chip, and the song, consisting of modulated chirps, is more musical.
This bird is often confused with the larger House Sparrow, but its rich brown, almost coppery head, the black patch on its white cheeks, and the double white wing bar, together with its slighter and more graceful build, are distinctive.
Do your bit
If you want to help wild birds then please look at the RSPB website (www.rspb.org.uk) for ways to get involved or contact you local bird club, if its simply a case of something at home why not buy a bird table or how about making a bird box for a tree sparrow using our simple directs below this can be a fun and rewarding project.
Grey Partridge: The Grey Partridge, Perdix perdix also known as the English Partridge, Hungarian Partridge or Hun is a gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae of the order Galliformes, gallinaceous birds.
This partridge breeds on farmland across most of Europe into western Asia, and has been introduced widely into North America and are quite common in some areas of southern Canada and the northern United States. Hens lay up to twenty eggs in a ground nest. The nest is usually in the margin of a cereal field, most commonly Winter wheat. It is a non-migratory terrestrial species, which forms flocks outside the breeding season.
It is declining greatly in numbers in areas of intensive cultivation such as Great Britain, due to loss of breeding habitat and food supplies. The numbers have fallen by 85% in the last 25 years. Efforts are being made in Great Britain by organisations such as the Game Conservancy Trust to halt the decline by creating Conservation headlands. In 1995 it was nominated a Biodiversity Action plan species.
The Grey Partridge is a rotund bird, 28-32 cm long, brown-backed, with grey flanks and chest. The belly is white, usually marked with a large chestnut-brown horse-shoe mark in males, but also in many females. The only major and constant difference between the sexes is the so-called cross of Lorraine on the tertiary coverts of females - these being marked with two transverse bars, as opposed to the one in males. These are present after around 16 weeks of age when the birds have moulted into adult plummage. Young Grey Partridges are esentally yellow-brown, and lack the distinctive face and underpart markings. The song is a harsh kieerr-ik.
When disturbed, like most of the gamebirds, it flies a short distance on rounded wings, often calling rick rick rick as it rises.
This is a seed-eating species, but the young in particular take insects as an essential protein supply. During the first 10 days of life, the young can only digest insects. The parents lead their chicks to the edges of cereal fields, where they can forage for insects.
How to build a bird box